Karachi: Naigleria Fowleri, a rare disease, is spreading in Karachi and so far at least five deaths have been reported in the city this year, while the number of unreported death cases might be high.
The disease spreads through non-chlorinated potable water and is dreaded because there is no treatment available and the survival chance of diagnosed patients is almost zero. The government policymakers at the provincial level are still unmoved despite five deaths this year alone. In past the government used to issue daily reports about such diseases including dengue, but the issuance of these daily reports was abruptly stopped. Though the suppression of information from public is the hallmark of dictatorial governments, the elected governments when marred with corruption and bad governance also suppress vital information from the general public.
The main issue related to the disease is that it reaches the brain of the victim via nose and eats up its brain tissues, resulting in a certain death. In Karachi millions of people, young and old, men, women and children irrigate their noses during ablution before offering a prayer. People use normal non-chlorinated water in homes and mosques, which means highly increased chances of catching naegleria fowleri amoeba. This is really a grave public health threat but the related government departments have yet to realize its gravity.
Karachi not only needs a hundred percent chlorinated water supply but also a detailed guidelines for general public about the use of water in washing their noses. Here also come the role of religious scholars, TV channels airing religious programs, radio and print media. The religious scholars should guide the people how to perform ablution in conditions where the proper chlorination of water is not ensured. Should people keep small bottles of boiled water or saline water in their pockets and use this water during the ablution. This is a very serious matter trhat involves the lives of millions of people and also their health and life.
It is high time the provincial government including its health and local government departments, Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, religious learning departments of leading public and private universities, noted seminaries, religious scholars, Muftis, theologians and jurisprudence experts should realize their responsibilities and ensure a grassroots awareness in Karachi as how to fight the threat of naegleria fowleri.
Further 10 persons were diagnosed of naegleria in Karachi on Friday.
According to media reports, the Health Department of Sindh has put the hospitals on high alert after the persons were diagnosed of the silent killer disease.
The illness slowly attacks the nervous system which results in death within a few weeks. According to the doctors, 97 per cent of the patients are killed by the illness. The disease is borne due to insufficient amount of chlorine in the water. It should be noted that there is no chlorine present in 40 per cent of the homes in Karachi. There is no proper treatment available for the disease.
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